Graduate Programs Brochure

brochure cover: Elliott School Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a vibrant academic community — one with a global perspective and a commitment to the public good — then look no further than Washington, DC, and GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

Security Policy Studies M.A. Program

photo: Joanna Spear
Joanna Spear, Program Director

Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master's degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on the security challenges for the 21st century and how to respond to them. These challenges include but are not limited to: weapons of mass destruction proliferation, transnational threats, terrorism, changing regional power dynamics, weak and failing states, international crime, effectively linking security and development, and ensuring U.S. national security.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policy-making process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to defense analysis. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular region, such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program's faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in international security, defense policy, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. Through its academic and professional skills development courses this program can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many think tanks and non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

In the News

Obama and the Middle East: Rightsizing the U.S. Role

August 17, 2015

Prof. Marc Lynch analyzes the implementation of President Obama's Middle East strategic vision.

Lynch, Marc. "Obama and the Middle East." Foreign Affairs. Web. 18 Aug. 2015.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

July 14, 2015

Elliott School faculty Henry Farrell and Marc Lynch offer analysis on the Iran nuclear agreement in The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog posts “The Iran deal reflects the U.S.’s overwhelming power over the world’s financial system” and “Can the Iran deal be a new Camp David?”.

Crimea Is Now Putin's Problem Child

July 14, 2015

Robert Orttung analyzes reports of corruption in Crimea after its annexation in an interview with Bloomberg Business.

Leading From Everywhere

June 15, 2015

Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs, co-authored a piece on the history of centralized Islamic religious authority on